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May 22, 2020 – The U.S. Census Bureau is working hard to ensure that the 2020 Census includes all children living in Nevada County. That’s because the Census Bureau estimates that 210,000 California children under the age of 5 were not counted in the 2010 Census – and that 1 million children weren’t counted nationally. That’s critically important because the California Department of Finance estimates that state and local governments lose out on $1,000 a year for every state resident who isn’t counted since so much federal funding is tied to population.

So although April 1 – Census Day – has come and gone, it is not too late to respond to the 2020 Census. The response rate as of May 20 in Nevada County was 54.3%, below the statewide figure of 61%. Grass Valley has a much higher response rate – 65.5% – and Nevada City came in at 65.8%. Still, it’s important that everyone be counted, so if you have received your flyer asking you to respond online or if you have received a printed questionnaire in the mail, make sure you are counted and respond now at my2020census.gov or if you prefer, mail back the paper questionnaire. If you are unable to respond online or need assistance, please call toll-free 1-844-330-2020.

If you haven’t received either, because you receive your mail at a post office box or live in a rural area, hold tight. A Census Bureau employee will be delivering your form in the weeks to come.

How important is it that every child be counted? Consider this: A newborn or toddler counted in the 2020 Census will be finishing elementary school in time for the 2030 Census. Being counted in the census impacts critical childhood services for the next 10 years. Results of the 2020 Census will inform federal funds that Nevada County communities receive for services including those that benefit children, such as Head Start, special education, after-school programs, school lunch assistance, children’s health insurance, child care, and housing support.

There are many reasons young children are undercounted in the census. Research shows that children living with large, extended families or with multiple families under one roof are at greater risk of being missed. These children may have more than one home and may not be related to the person responding to the census for their household.

Children living in linguistically isolated or low-income households and those who recently moved may also be missed in the count. Babies under 3 months old may be at an even higher risk of not being counted.

Here are Census Bureau guidelines for counting children if you have not yet responded:

  • Count them in the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents do not live there.
  • If a child splits time between two homes, count them where they stay most often. If their time is evenly divided, or you don’t know, count them where they were staying on April 1, 2020.
  • If a child moved during March or April 2020, count them at the address where they were living on April 1, 2020.
  • Count children that do not have a permanent place to live and were staying with you on April 1, 2020, even if they were only staying temporarily.
  • Count newborns at the home where they will live and sleep most of the time, even if they were still in the hospital on April 1, 2020.

Local parents and educators can also learn more about the importance of counting young children in this fact sheet and this FAQ document.